We chose to approach Half Moon Lake from the
Glen Alpine trailhead
near Lily Lake. We turned onto Fallen Leaf Road from Highway 89 and drove all the way to the
Glen Alpine trailhead. While there are many parking spaces at the trailhead parking lot, it is a very
popular trailhead so expect to see people and be prepared to park down the road if the trailhead parking lot is full.
The hike starts out as a moderate climb with intermittent periods of shade. You will pass the historic Glen Alpine Springs area
where a couple of old buildings still stand. There is an old road leading up to this point. After that, expect some mild uphill trail
hiking until you reach the switchbacks. Soon you will find yourself exposed to the sun for much of the way
as the trail climbs and switches back up the mountain side. When you reach the outlet creek from Gilmore Lake you will be only a few
yards from the first important sign post. When you reach the sign post for Gilmore Lake, stay to the right and follow the trail
until you reach the next sign post. This is post is a four way intersection which clearly marks the direction towards Half Moon
The last leg of the hike after the four way intersection is easy hiking through a forested area until you break out of the woods
and drop down into the lake basin. You will know you are getting close when you start seeing some small ponds on the left and right.
The High Sierra fishing at Half Moon Lake is excellent as there appears to be many fish in the lake. It only took a few minutes
for us to catch our first Brook Trout and the action did not slow down after that. While we landed most of the fish, we lost a few
before they reached shore.
We tried fishing the lake with Panther Martins but had no luck. The fly fishing was difficult due to trees and rocks close to shore
which hampered my back casting. I attempted to fly fish the area near our camp site but had many trees and bushes to contend with. I
hooked more pine trees and Alder brush than I did fish. The fish seemed to be just to the left or right of where I had casting access.
I did have one fish hooked using a yellow Humpy but he shook my hook and got away. On the way out I noticed some better areas to back cast
on the far east side.
All of the fish we brought in were caught using Night Crawlers. We landed ten fish ranging from 11-13 inches but did not see any
fish larger than that. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 16 or 18 inch fish come out of this lake though. We kept some fish to eat
and they were very tasty. In all, Half Moon Lake looks to be sustaining nicely with many fish rising in the evening and morning.
Although we found a camp site on the north shore, the south and west shores looked like they had much better camping spots and the fly
fishing would be a lot easier on those sides. I recommend hiking around the north shore along the trail and then breaking left between
Alta Morris Lake and Half Moon Lake to find good camping areas.